Rep. Jared Polis Grills DEA Chief on Dangers of Meth vs Marijuana

Congressman Jared Polis grills DEA Chief Michele Leonhart on the dangers of heroin and meth as compared to marijuana. Great job by Polis. Not so great job by Leonhart who couldn't answer the simple question of whether methamphetamine or heroin is worse for your health than marijuana.

The hearing was held yesterday by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and the subject was Oversight of the DEA. Here is Leonhart's prepared testimony. [More...]

Watching Director Leonhart squirm was amusing, but far more serious I think is the continued global expansion of the DEA, along with the cost.

As I've written before, the DEA has become our global holy warriors. Leonhart says:

DEA has the largest permanent U.S. investigative law enforcement presence overseas, and since its formation in 1973, has been assigned a global drug enforcement mission that extends far beyond our Nation’s borders. Currently, DEA has 85 offices in 65 countries.

She details stepped up efforts all over the globe. The DEA will continue its Excellent African Adventures.

She confirms DEA's position as the leading Big Brother agency:

DEA leads the multi-agency El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), a national law enforcement intelligence center, currently houses employees from 28 federal, state, local, and foreign agencies, directly supporting the efforts of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and the Joint Interagency Task Force-South. EPIC also has information sharing agreements with police agencies in 49 states that give state and local police access to real-time intelligence from 14 databases. Through its 24-hour Watch function, EPIC provides immediate access to participating agencies' databases to law enforcement agents, investigators, and analysts.

As I asked here:

How much of our money is the DEA spending on its African adventures? And how much are we spending to fly these sting targets from Africa to the U.S., hold them for a year or more in pre-trial detention, fund their defense, try them, incarcerate them for decades, and then fly them back when they are deported after their sentences? Considering unless the DEA demands otherwise, the (illusory) drugs are going from South America to Africa to Europe, why is it even their business to intervene? Or to steer non-U.S. criminal activity into the U.S.?

The latest DEA addition: An office in Bulgaria. (The one before that: Nairobi.)

The State Department's March, 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report is a whopping 474 pages. Here are the 8 pages outlining the DEA's activities. On May 30, it added this 368 page supplement on money laundering. (The INCSR is "the United States Government's country-by-country report that describes the efforts to attack all aspects of the international drug trade, chemical control, money laundering and financial crimes." Here is the cost of our international drug efforts.

Here is the DEA's $2 billion budget for 2012. It's getting ready to rule the world:

With the largest foreign presence of any federal law enforcement agency, DEA’s role in a world of globalization is becoming increasingly important to representing U.S. interests. The successes of DEA’s foreign operations are based on its ability to maintain a presence in all parts of the world. In order to fulfill its mission overseas, DEA personnel must be strategically assigned to various parts of the world in order to provide an operational focus that ensures the conduct of long-term bilateral investigations.

Here is President Obama's 2012 National Drug Control Strategy. Here's the 292 page 2013 budget for the National Drug Control Strategy -- the 48 page section for the Department of Justice is here.

Over $9.4 billion in FY 2013 Federal resources are requested to support domestic law enforcement efforts, an increase of $61.4 million (0.7%) over the FY 2012 enacted level. The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury, with support from the Department of Defense’s National Guard, provide key domestic law enforcement support.

What do we get for our $9.4 billion in national drug war costs? A DEA Director who doesn't know that heroin and methamphetamine have greater health consequences than marijuana.

Someone in Congress needs to start putting the brakes on the massive spending for the War on Drugs. The DEA has become a runaway train. But don't look to Republicans, they only care about some guns going to Mexico so they can create political theater in time for the election.

The reality is little has changed since 1984 when Glenn Frey wrote Smugglers Blues for Miami Vice -- other the rising rate of incarceration.

You see it in the headlines, you hear it every day
They say they're gonna stop it, but it doesn't go away
They move it through Miami and sell it in LA
They hide it up in Telluride, I mean it's here to stay
It's propping up the governments in Columbia and Peru
You ask any D.E.A. man, he'll say there's nothing we can do
From the office of the president right down to me and you
...It's a losing proposition, but one you can't refuse
It's the politics of contraband, it's the smugglers' blues

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    How can a leader of an agency ... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by magster on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:22:48 AM EST
    ... be so clueless about the subject matter of an agency? She makes Alberto Gonzalez sound smarter. That was horrible.

    Stupid questions (none / 0) (#28)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:48:30 PM EST

    Not so great job by Leonhart who couldn't answer the simple question of whether methamphetamine or heroin is worse for your health than marijuana.

    Her job is to enforce (DEA)the law not to speculate on reasons why Congress choose to write the law the way it did.  

    If I were her the answer would have been, "I don't know, but that is something you should consider Mr Representative when you write the laws I am charged to enforce."



    Given that this woman still has her job, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:31:41 AM EST
    and the president has given no indication that he disagrees with the sensibility she's bringing to the position and the mission, I'd say she is doing exactly what Obama wants her and the DEA to be doing.

    don't forget (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:47:23 AM EST
    Republicans would be even worse.

    Trust me - I haven't forgotten. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:06:41 AM EST
    It's disheartening to realize that, on this issue, there probably won't be any way to pressure Obama to take a more liberal approach, because then he just becomes "the Democrat who wants to make sure your children have access to all the drugs they want."

    He could have, however, if he were so inclined, made quiet changes that would have started moving things in a better direction; he could have replaced Leonhart, not with some radical DFH-type, but with someone with some common sense - perhaps someone who, unlike Leonhart, would not have gone gung-ho after dispensaries in states that had legalized medical marijuana.

    The only other option, that I can see, is getting federal laws changed, so the DEA and people like Leonhart will have no choice but to back off, but what are the chances that's going to happen?  Is there any move afoot in the Congress to make these kinds of changes?


    She's a Bush holdover (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:18:22 AM EST
    And was Acting Administrator since 2007.  Obama nominated her in 2010.

    I know - so while things could (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:22:45 AM EST
    conceivably get worse under the GOP, it seems as if, for all intents and purposes, we already have a GOP DEA, don't we?

    It DOES (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:28:06 AM EST
    Destroy the argument that the Republicans would be worse when the Democratic president just appoints Republican holdovers.

    Wow (none / 0) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:27:59 AM EST
    That certainly explains the video.  That was horrific, like better than Sandusky, but worse than Clemens.  Amateur hour for sure.

    Arguable (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:23:42 AM EST
    On the MM front, certainly Obama is worse than GWB, with the added benefit of him stating one thing at the election and doing an entirely different it.

    So on this one tiny, but important portion, the D's are worse than the R's.  Guessing Mitt will be worse is speculation, probably correct, but speculation no less.  But we do know, Obama is not down with it.

    And if CO passes legalization, Obama, if past acts are proof, will never let CO regulate it and use the DEA & IRS to make a mockery of the voters will.  Mitt will probably do the same, but it's not near the guarantee it is with Obama.


    Have you seen the SC ruling (none / 0) (#11)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:54:44 AM EST
    on the Fair Sentencing Act cases--Dorsey and Hill?

    I'm (none / 0) (#12)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:54:51 AM EST
    not saying that Republicans wouldn't be worse, but on the other hand, how could they possibly be worse?


    "Leonhart who couldn't answer the simple question of whether methamphetamine or heroin is worse for your health than marijuana",

    can there be someone who knows even less about the subject?


    Well I guess a Brand R DEA head.. (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:03:12 AM EST
    might say they have to check with Jesus first, and get back to ya on that Congress;)

    That was my first thought though...there's a worse?  First Clinton gives us Barry McCaffrey and an unprecedented amp up of the war on reefer in the 90's, my vote for worst drug czar ever...and Obama gives us this clown as head of the DEA?  

    It's hopeless isn't it...it's an argument for PJ's "don't vote, you only encourage the bastards."


    I wish (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:24:10 AM EST
    that they would check with Jesus.

    I am as confident as I can be, speaking 2000 years after he was roaming Jerusalem, that he would be among those who could enjoy a pipeful after hard day of sermons, curing people, turning over moneylender's tables and confronting dishonest politicians.

    No blasphemy intended.


    PS (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:25:13 AM EST
    I can't imagine J.C. denying a critically ill cancer patient access to heroin either.

    The original hippie! (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:25:47 AM EST
    And those annointing oils he used to heal the sick...it wasn't no olive oil, I assure you;)

    As you (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:59:21 AM EST
    say, the DEA have become Holy Warriors. Dangerous ones. They kill people.

    This is not about protecting our health.
    This is about prohibiting something that is pleasurable.
    It is based in puritanism. Not science.

    The War On.. (none / 0) (#25)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:33:42 PM EST
    "the Right Side of the Brain.."

    I remember having one their (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:55:46 PM EST
    agents in my cab back in the eighties. Drove him around for two hours while he did lines off the top of the meter and regaled me with stories about training Mexican narcs to interrogate suspects by shooting club soda up their noses and beating them up so that it didn't leave any marks.
    Our tax dollars at work..

    And people still don't seem to want to have any in-depth discussions about what it is about living here that makes so many people want to do so many drugs..  


    Ok (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:45:32 PM EST
    That's where you lose the argumen:

    It is based in puritanism. Not science.

    Uh, no.  There are plenty of scientific studies that show the short and long term effects of things like heroin and meth. Just off the top of my head, heart and liver damage, impaired cognitive abilities, mouth damage ("meth mouth"), long term decrease in libido and the ability to experience pleasure, and spontaneous abortion.  Unless you are like a FOX News viewer who doesn't believe in evolution?

    Stick with the "adults should be allowed to make their own choices", "regulate and tax", and "money could be better spent on treatment and not incarceration" arguments - they are much better and not looney.


    just don't make the rhetorical (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye jump and start talking as if there were little significant difference between meth and heroin, and say, mescaline or pot..

    That would be (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:09:24 PM EST
    that "science - thingy" again.

    and "pure" science (none / 0) (#33)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:21:56 PM EST
    as we know, has fallen somewhat out of favor due to it's "secular", lack of "faith-based" nature..

    Not to let Obama off the hook by any means, but the previous admin seemed intent gradually regressing the mentality of this country back to the 1850s..


    Well (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:26:55 PM EST
    Lentinel (above) claimed that drug laws are based on puritanism and not on science.  Does that make him/her like the Bushies?

    what the Bushies (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:43:28 PM EST
    were shooting for was/is bad science contaminated by Puritanism..and "markets"..and emotional nostalgia for Morning in America and the Rocket's Red Glare..

    How (none / 0) (#48)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:41:51 PM EST
    in the world could you infer that I would like the Bushies?

    They, like Clinton, like Obama, like all of them, are enforcing a prohibition that is related to a highly distorted version of Christianity imo. They changed something that was an expression of love into an expression of repression and violence.

    I really don't know what you are talking about.

    To repeat: Prohibition is not a result of science. It is a result of one class desiring to repress and control another class.

    I despise Bush as I despise those who emulate and continue his policies.


    Don't forget that... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 02:28:27 PM EST
    ...drugs create diseases, namely addiction.

    That one always cracks me up, and I think, but don't know, the science of marijuana could be argued, by bigger minds than mine, that it has real health benefits.  Certainly it's not worthy of Schedule I notoriety.

    No one is arguing meth, blow, and heroin are good for you, at least I would hope not.  They are bad, worse than cigs and alcohol.  But we love them and do date, we can't stop them.

    Not really countering the argument, but seems like the original post had to be thinking of mary jane and just wrote drugs, no ?  And that the puritanism is about something more then just keeping people healthy, it's about their wanting everyone to live the way they think we should.  And of course you have to mix in the whole scary race aspect that helped secure their infamy in illegalness.


    Potential health benefits of reefer... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 02:54:24 PM EST
    # 1 imo is stress relief...stress is a cause numerous ailments & diseases.  And of course there is its use in treating glaucoma, naseau, wasting syndrome, & insomnia to name but a few.

    And if you're eating it or vaporizing it, there are none of the health risks of my preferred delivery methof, inhaled smoke.

    Schedule 1 is the biggest joke running...we can admit there are legitimate medical uses for cocaine but not reefer?  That's not science, that's straight up stupidity.


    it certainly helped (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 03:41:15 PM EST
    my late brother deal with the toxic chemo brew they were giving him. Being on death's door he had no reason whatsoever to lie about it..

    Yet these disengenuous, obfuscating, in-the-pocket-of-Big-Pharm twerps are still telling us they need more time to study how it works, and still go out of their way to almost always play up the downside of THC consumption..    


    All the while... (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by sj on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:35:42 PM EST
    and still go out of their way to almost always play up the downside of THC consumption
    ...trying to manufacture a synthetic version.

    a synthetic version (none / 0) (#49)
    by Dadler on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:45:50 PM EST
    always amuses me.  we're gonna be eating synthetic veggies soon enough (some would say we already are), but can we please keep the ganja sticky for a bit? at least until i'm pushing up daisies preferably.

    How much of this (none / 0) (#54)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:35:16 PM EST
    is, at bottom, based in a fear on the part of Partnership for a Drug Free America types that Amercans will become too stoned and lazy to go fight the 1%'s dirty little wars, and to compete, compete, compete continually with each other and with the Chinese (till we need more drugs to relieve the hypercompetitive stress..)

    Actually, I think that's more of a rhetorical question..


    Ahem (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by sj on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:42:29 PM EST
    Actually, I would argue that there is a valid medical use for heroin.  That would be for end of life pain management.  Right now "some" doctors are oh so concerned that a dying patient might get addicted, when they should be trying to ease  his or her suffering.

    Fin de siecle medical (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:27:36 PM EST
    treatment included heroin.  The U.S. Pharmacopoeia (1907) included heroin for its analgesia and for cough suppression.  Smaller doses were as effective as larger doses of morphine, and, therefore reduced the common side effect of opiates--constipation.  Indeed, Elixir Terpin Hydrate and Heroin was an effective cough medicine not to mention its popularity owing to both its heroin and alcohol content. The euphoria of heroin is said to be more pronounced than morphine and, hence, more addictive.  The studies halted, however, with its disuse.

    And that would be (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:45:56 PM EST
    in very limited circumstances, no?

    heroin's what? (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:13:11 PM EST
    that much more addictive than morphine, or hillbilly heroin,
    or methadone..?

    I wonder how many people have had to experience unnecessary suffering due almost entirely to the stigma attached to the name Heroin..


    I can't say (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by sj on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:05:25 PM EST
    I don't have exposure to types of extreme pain other than end of life.  But I would have given anything to ease my relative's pain when he was dying.

    Please... (none / 0) (#55)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:34:53 AM EST
    ...a valid medical reason doesn't mean it's good for you.  And I don't get what you are arguing here, because a few people can use it right before they die, it's not a bad substance ?

    Meth will clean your nasal passages too, it's why they put it in over-the-counter medications.  But no one is going to seriously argue that it's good for you.

    And of course, blow, which they use for eye drops to numb the eyes I believe is not good for you as well.

    So I stand by my original quote with a noted exception.

    No one is arguing meth, blow, and heroin* are good for you, at least I would hope not.  

    * sans sj

    Damn It (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:36:27 AM EST
    I hit post instead of preview.  It's Friday and I am messing around, not being serious about the 'san sj' note, it was a joke.

    Since when did "good/bad for you" (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:10:35 AM EST
    become the be all end all.  I'm not sold one snort of heroin a week is all that bad for you...a snort every 4 hours is bad for you, but that doesn't mean it should be illegal.  We should have the right to be as good or as bad to our bodies as we want.

    Sitting in front of a computer or television for twelve hours a day is bad for you, too much soda is bad for you, on and on...nobody is talking about making any of that illegal, sans Bloomberg.  The prohibition of some drugs has nothing to do with protecting our health.


    Sure (none / 0) (#59)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:25:49 AM EST
    We should have the right to be as good or as bad to our bodies as we want.

    But where as obese people still have to eat, there is absolutely no reason why anyone has to snort heroin, smoke pot, smoke tobacco, or drink.

    If you want to do heroin, and you want it legalized, then it should be like riding without a motorcycle helmet - you pay the costs for the eventual medical care you will need because it HAS proven to be very dangerous.


    Sure there are reasons... (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:13:35 AM EST
    pursuit of happiness is a good enough reason for me.  And in the case of marijuana or heroin, there are legitimate medical reasons.

    Legalize drugs and I'll sign a waiver absolving society of any responsibilty for medical costs related to my drug use, if thats the f*ckin' hold up you can let me die as long as you let me live free;)...but then the over-eaters have to sign one, and the inactive people who never excercise, those who drink too much, those with dangerous hobbies like skydiving, etc ,etc, etc.

    Or we can be a more tolerant humane society and care for those who don't make the smartest choices, because it's no fun to watch somebody die or suffer as an "I told you so".


    You'd be surprised (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:30:43 AM EST
    how many sick individuals get a thrill from that "I told you so".  You could even go so far as to say they get a high from it.  

    So far, I haven't heard the anti's put forth any creditable alternative solution to legalization.  Our jails are packed, our budgets are busted and people with legitimate needs are not getting their meds and all we get is "more of the same!"?  


    I hate to say it (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by nyjets on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:53:54 AM EST
    You are probable correct. As much as I hate drug use, the best way to handle drugs is to remove the criminal element to it.
    Dangerous drugs require a prescription. If you are caught using these drugs without a prescription, it is the same as getting a parking ticket. Only the drugs gets confiscated.

    Other drugs, simple regulate it the way alcohol and tobacco is regulated.


    My man... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:02:11 AM EST
    we so rarely agree so I couldn't let an opportunity pass to say well f*ckin' said man.

    Kinda like my position on guns...I abhor them personally , but gotta respect the rights of others to possess them legally.  Anything less is "don't tread on me, tread on them!" hypocrisy.

    A little tolerance of other lifestyles goes a long way towards creating a society we can all respect and live in.


    As long as they are owned legal (none / 0) (#71)
    by nyjets on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:10:19 AM EST
    Honestly, I think most people are not opposed to owning guns. The gun issues has been hijacked by fanatics on both sides of the issue.
    I just think that there is a middle ground. As you said, there is nothing wrong with owning a gun legally: as long as you have the gun registered and you have a gun license. (think owning a gun the same as owning a car. You need some training to own a car, you need some training to own a gun.)

    If the prohibitionists... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:21:57 AM EST
    would be appeased by my people having to sit through a drug safety course, I could live with that, in the spirit of compromise and getting the chains off.  

    It would be as annoying as a trip to the DMV, but I could live with it;)  


    Actually most schools have drug course (none / 0) (#75)
    by nyjets on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:36:36 AM EST
    I always thought most schools had as part of their health course works, chapters on dangers of drugs. Mind you, it might be different state to state.

    We had the D.A.R.E. cop... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:42:44 AM EST
    come to school, but exagerations and lies are not my idea of real drug education.

    My high school health teacher did a better job, but still less than honest.  

    Our current versions of drug education leave a lot to be desired...it's all about scaring the kids.  Which is dangerous in and of itself...if the kids come away from it thinkin "they lied about the risks of marijuana, maybe they lied about the risks of cocaine and heroin too".


    Because... (none / 0) (#67)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:57:03 AM EST
    they have no credibility and no solutions...just lies and fear tactics and a profitable (for some)racket to preserve.  They ignore the real problems we're facing and focus on hypothetical nonsense like everybody and their mother rushing to get hooked on legal dope, as if that is somehow worse than getting hooked on illegal dope.

    On the bright side, Uruguay is fixin' to drop a dose of sanity.  Lets hope the State Dept. doesn't sabotage their plans for progress.


    But that is not a good enough argument (2.00 / 1) (#82)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:52:35 AM EST
    Saying something is "pleasurable" ergo it should be legal isn't enough. It's an incredibly weak
    (and selfish) argument. (See my comment above about what I think are much better arguments and more likely to convince people as opposed to "It feels good to get stoned.").

    People find lots of things "pleasurable" - driving fast, shooting guns, etc.  You think there shouldn't be limits on those?

    You can take the argument further - some people think having sex with children is fine and pleasurable. They show "studies" that say it doesn't hurt the kids.  Should that be legal?


    That is a dangerous precident (none / 0) (#60)
    by nyjets on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:01:47 AM EST
    The problem with that POV that almost every activity that someone does has a risk to it and can cause medical problems. If we followed that path, everyone will have to pay for their own medical care.

    But that doesn't mean (none / 0) (#61)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:03:31 AM EST
    That some things should not be legalized for all.

    "should be" (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:03:44 AM EST
    kdog (none / 0) (#68)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:59:01 AM EST
    I wasn't arguing legality, I am all for it and you know that.  Personally, my view is that anyone who wants them can get them today.  This view that all of a sudden the country is going to be junkies just because Uncle Sam doesn't spank them when they use/buy them is absurd.  I'm not going to go out and buy a pound of PCP just because I can, that is so ridiculous.

    But I am not going to sit here and read that cigs aren't bad for a people, that the proof is voodoo science.  Ditto with meth and heroin.  But in a free society, we don't regulate what people put into their own bodies so long as they know what it is.

    Off note, last night I was thinking, this massive failure on the war on drugs is actually a users best buddy.  Just think if they were successful, what a nightmare that would be.  We might not be able to score at will or have junk delivered to work or home at all hours.  Of all the scenarios on this idiotic war, success would be the worst because then they would cast and re-cast that net until everything was gone including scripts.

    So from here on out, I will try not make fun of their failures, what they call accomplishments.  And pat them on the back when they think they are making a difference.  Haaaaaayyyyyyyy, fail-ure.


    I know my brother.... (none / 0) (#72)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:15:21 AM EST
    I was just trying to say "bad for you" is subjective, lotta variables.  In moderation one can use heroin or meth to little or no ill effect.  Granted it's a tightrope because they are such highly addictive drugs, but it can be done and has been done. And there would be even less ill effects if people could buy pharmacuetical grade stuff in consistent doses legally, not street stuff stepped on god knows how many times and with god knows what.

    Same with tobacco or alcohol...I had an old ladyfriend who was amazingly immune from the addictive qualities of nicotine...smoke a half a pack one night, or smoke two packs over a weekend, and not smoke for months.  Never me...I'm f*ckin' hooked, mentally if not solely physically...I don't get outta bed before smoking a cigarette.

    For alcohol my old man was addicted at times in his life...putting vodka in his morning tea to ward off the shakes.  Contstant struggle for him.  Never me...I seem to be immune from developing a dependency to alcohol, I can go on a bender and not touch a drink for weeks.

    And yes, thank goodness the DEA is lousy at their mission or we'd really be up sh*ts creek!  Though I tend to think that is somewhat intentional...nobody wants to see the drug trade halted, especially banksters and law enforcement...they'd be out a ton of money.


    Subjective... (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:42:52 AM EST
    ...yeah, but stating something as obvious as russian roulette is bad for your health won't hold true for 5/6 people.  And while subjective, it doesn't mean that it's not obvious.

    this is like arguing with the with cig company execs about cigs.  Everyone knows they are bad, but they hid in that microcosm of not 100%.

    So OK, 1/1000000 users health isn't negatively impacted, therefore it's not bad.  Pleaze.


    Whats the harm... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:49:16 AM EST
    in admitting that and seeing/acknowledging that its not black & white.

    Like was said about driving, kills a ton of people but nobody calls it bad.  Why can't that apply to heroin or meth?  Just because less people use those drugs than drive?  Why do we look at driving as part of the modern human way of life with positives and negatives, and not look at drugs as part of the human way of life since we lived in caves with both positives and negatives?


    Or alcohol... (none / 0) (#83)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:52:53 AM EST
    as a better comparison...society acknowledges there are positives to drinking alcohol.  It feels good, its social, its relaxing, etc.

    Why this aversion to admitting the use of other drugs/intoxicants can be an enriching part of one's life, while acknowledging that heroin or meth can f*ck up your life big time and kill you if their use becomes abuse.


    If you want to go with the good/bad polarity (none / 0) (#66)
    by sj on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:55:21 AM EST
    then I would have to say that, under certain conditions, having (and using) the proscribed substance is "good" and experiencing the extreme pain is "bad".

    I would also argue that your reference to it as a "bad substance" is based on personal prejudice and boogeyman propaganda.  Many things have an appropriate time and place.  Using them outside of their appropriate time and place doesn't make that thing intrinsically "bad".  Driving a car through a store front window is clearly not using it in its appropriate time and place, but the car isn't "bad" in spite of the whole lot of damage it might have caused.


    You Got Me... (4.00 / 2) (#74)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:29:02 AM EST
    ...let's go hand out heroin and meth to kids, and when they start going into seizures you can explain why it's not bad.  How I am buying into voodoo propoganda.

    And FYI, driving a car is easily the most dangerous thing one does voluntarily, even when done correctly.  Great example.

    But since everyone wants to argue about the obvious, let's set-up some sort of metrics.  How many people need to overdoes/die for it to be dangerous, how many people need to be addicted to it for it to be considered dangerous, what is the number of years use will reduces one life expectancy ?  Are those far metrics ?

    By your definition, nothing can be bad so long as it's done properly ?

    I'm not serious about the metrics, but I hate when there isn't a new open post because these deteriorate into this kind of non-sense.  I have to waste calories making my fingers type a fact we all know to be true, meth and heroin are bad, with so few exceptions, they aren't worth noting.


    And one of the reasons (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by CST on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:38:51 AM EST
    I call the war on drugs a failure is that meth and heroin are still widely available and cheap.  We're off fighting wars in other countries, and it's not even effective at curbing the supply.

    If you want hard drugs today you can get them.  And if you want them, I don't think you're sitting there telling yourself "if only it were legal".


    And we're effectively pushing people (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:49:06 AM EST
    to heroin use with the crackdown on Rx opiates.  It is now cheaper and easier to obtain heroin than the pills.  Heroin use is rising--especially among young people.

    And the people who need the pills for pain control are treated like criminals and sometimes denied access to the medications.  


    And Afghanistan.... (none / 0) (#86)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:04:21 PM EST
    ...which supplies the world with 90% of it's opium has flourished under US occupancy.  The supply is outpacing the demand which seems cRaZy to me.

    Check out Wiki, there is a graphic of hectares of opium by year, the US working it's majic.

    I can attest to the pill non-sense, my friend had to take a drug test maybe 1 of 3 times to make sure she's actually on the prescribed drugs they give her.


    Thats the simple truth... (none / 0) (#85)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:59:43 AM EST
    that gets ignored or prohibitionists just don't understand...you ain't stoppin' nobody from doing nuthin', in fact you're making it easier!

    I don't use heroin because I know myself, I know I'd really really like it, and don't wanna dance with that devil.  The illegality never enters my mind, and it's certainly not hard to get.  In fact, as painkillers get harder to get addicts are switching to heroin because its cheaper and easier to score.


    Life has risks, Scott (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by sj on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:54:57 AM EST
    By your definition, nothing can be bad so long as it's done properly ?

    Life is risk.  Why are we so reluctant to admit that?

    And why are you so determined to stick to this picture:

    let's go hand out heroin and meth to kids
    Truly, that statement was nonsense.  I'm sorry you wasted the calories making your fingers type it.  Would you give the car keys to kids?  

    BTW I would appreciate it if you would stop throwing meth into this conversation.  As far as I know it has no legitimate use.  Throwing it in there is just a word bomb.

    And I would say that easing the suffering of a being in extreme pain is only "not worth noting" if you have never observed someone in extreme pain.

    With that comment, I'm ending our conversation.  Anything further you have to say on this subject is "not worth noting" to me.  

    I'm sure we'll talk again.


    Heroin and pain management (none / 0) (#87)
    by SuzieTampa on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 12:50:50 PM EST
    Heroin delivers morphine to the brain faster than morphine alone. But it's just one of many opiates/opioids. Dilaudid, fentanyl and sufentanyl are stronger, and I know Dilaudid is also faster than morphine.

    Pharmacologically, I don't see heroin as the answer to the pain some cancer patients feel at the end of life. I'd much rather see a focus on developing analgesics that differ from opiates. A lot of people don't tolerate opiates well, especially at higher levels. They may have bad nausea and vomiting, for example, even if given drugs to counteract that ahead of time.

    Right after surgery, I can't take enough morphine to properly control my pain, without my blood pressure dropping precipitously. In 2010, I came out of surgery with an epidural administering sufentanyl. Like a number of people, I got very itchy. The sufentanyl was discontinued because of the perceived allergic reaction. After that surgery, I talked to a pain specialist who told me that the itching can lessen over time. Last year, I got a sufentanyl epidural, but the epidural leaked! It took a while before an anesthesiologist could come and look at me.

    What we need is better pain management and drugs that work differently.

    A cancer doctor who is afraid that a dying patient may get addicted should be booted. But many people live with metastatic (terminal) cancer for a number of years. There's a risk that they will build up a tolerance to opiates, which will make it harder to control their pain in the future.  


    Yes.. (none / 0) (#47)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:31:39 PM EST
    but adults can choose to smoke, to drink alcoholic beverages...

    This is not based on concerns for our health.

    People can choose all kinds of things that are pleasurable to them that could be dangerous in the long term. Even cheese cake.
    Present them with the facts and let them choose.

    And, I have read that heroin, not cut, but pure, is addictive, but if given in doses that could be described as maintenance, is not in fact a deadly substance. So I don't yet accept your description of the effect of heroin addition.

    About meth, I would agree. It is harmful.
    But, as you say, the issue is that adults should be able to make their own choices.

    But I stand by my assertion that pot is being prohibited simply because it is pleasurable. That is why people like to smoke it.

    But there is absolutely no reason to lump pot in with meth and heroin. And yet that's what Obama's DEA is doing. She doesn't even know the difference.

    The prohibition is not based on science.
    it is based on puritanism.
    I don't think a case can be made that they care about our health.
    Genetically modified food is OK with them.
    So are nuclear plants on fault lines.
    So is Coca Cola.

    To paraphrase what Lester Young said in an interview, you want to get your kicks your  way, but you want to deny others the right to get their kicks their way.


    It has been proven many times over (none / 0) (#51)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:26:27 PM EST
    The harmful effects of hetoin and meth.  If you don'y trust science and think all the regulation is only based on "religion", then you are like climate changer-deniers.

    The science is out there.


    If you (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:34:57 PM EST
    you think that selective prohibition is based on science, I don't think you know your history.

    Selective... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:59:12 AM EST
    ...doesn't mean wrong.  But more importantly, just because science wasn't used back in the day, doesn't mean they don't hold up to science today.  Which of course is not true for all drugs, but certainly true for Meth and Heroin.

    Both are bad for you and that is a fact.


    "that is a fact" (none / 0) (#70)
    by sj on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:06:46 AM EST
    I think it's a judgement, not a fact.  You are conflating a lot of things.  And you have strong feelings about this.  But while I respect your views and strong feelings, you read as if they are based on something more than "science".  

    For whatever reason, your views are far more narrow than is typical of you.  It reads as personal prejudice or possibly based on viewing the situation through a single lens.  Life is almost never good/bad and black/white.  Far more often there is a spectrum.  

    And I'll add, that had there been some smack sitting on a table between you and me 12 years ago, I would have clawed your eyes out to give it to my relative had you tried to keep it from me.


    Facts? My view (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:37:32 AM EST
    There is simply no justification, in a country that purports to honor individual freedom & choice, to criminalize personal use of mood altering substances. After thousands of years of humans, seeking out and ingesting different forms of hallucinogens, you'd have thought we would have learned that lesson by now.

    Some of these substances are quite harmless and some, quite dangerous. What do we do with alcohol? We promote, "drink responsibly, don't drink & drive, use designated drivers." What do do about dangerous pesticides? We label them with a prominent skull & crossbones.

    Education, peer pressure, and rehabilitation is the answer.......not prohibition. It has worked incredibly well in the great reduction of smokers these past few decades, so we know it can be done.

    We are either a free people or we cede control over our own bodies to politicians. We know the answer, why are we still having this debate?

    I'm talking to you, Mr. President.


    Ironic, isn't it? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:44:27 PM EST
    An administration that campaigned on "Changing the way things are done on Washington," found, once elected, that the very worst programs from the prior administration were just fine, didn't need no fixin. In fact, the new "best and brightest" administration, once they put their Masters & PhD's to work, discovered that the most wasteful, and counter-productive programs weren't wasteful and counter-productive enough. So, "change" them, they did; they doubled down. From prison reform, through drug proliferation, to Wall St. oversight, all are worse today than four years ago.

    So, our Ivy League, Progressive, Administration decided that the most expensive, and wasteful programs needed to become more so, while programs that actually help people and put money into circulation, food stamps, SS, Medicare, and Medicaid needed to be "fixed."  

    In spite of all that, of course the republicans would be worse......much worse. But, after voting in every election for 40 years I really, really hope Obama gives me a little more than that to change my "sittin this one out" feeling.

    His new-found immigration rhetoric is a start.

    As a local writer (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:15:37 PM EST
    Bill Kaufman says in his homespun way, a huge part of the problem is this plethora of yuppie smart alecks who go right from grad school to the Beltway, to working for, and having an influence on, people like Obama.

    Do not pass through Life and the Real World, do not collect 200 dollars..


    If Michele Leonhardt answered (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 02:20:49 PM EST
    that this is more a case of marijuana being dangerous because it is illegal rather than it being illegal because it is dangerous, she would be jeopardizing her agency's prime role as a "job creator."  Better, apparently, for her to stick to her script (all illegal drugs are dangerous) and (a) keep her funding and (b) keep her job--not necessarily in that order.  Meanwhile, she can focus her police officer mentality on drug abuse by making prescription analgesics more difficult for really sick  patients to obtain, such as eliminating phoned-in prescriptions and requiring patients to obtain a new written prescription for refills.

    My government spent $1 trillion on a War on Drugs. (4.75 / 4) (#2)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:41:31 AM EST
    And all I got to show for it is this lousy police state.

    A More Important Question.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:49:14 AM EST
    ...should be, "How effective has your agency been in reducing access/use to/of drugs ?"

    What the point of this entire debacle if your average American has nearly unlimited access to these substances ?  

    Director Leonhart. what have you done for us lately ?

    From Leonhart's statement.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:03:47 AM EST
    I am happy to report that DEA continues to have significant success disrupting and dismantling
    the world's major drug trafficking organizations and I am proud of our many recent

    Didn't the DOJ just try to put Roger Clemens in the stir for bullsh*ting Congress?


    Awesome... (none / 0) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:34:55 AM EST
    ...someone should have asked her to define failure if the current state is success.

    And really, are we to believe that they have dismantled the "world's major drug trafficking organizations".  Someone might want to let the "world's major drug trafficking organizations" in on that piece of news because they are operating like they are whole.


    And they're "proud"... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:41:11 AM EST
    If the work of the DEA is a source of pride, I'm scared to ask what it would take to shame them.

    Where They Belong... (none / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:42:17 AM EST
    ...the unemployment line with no real world skills.

    How did this Bozo (none / 0) (#9)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:44:47 AM EST
    even get hired in the first place?  Like a deer caught in the headlights and just as articulate.  Like I said earlier--clue.less.  

    If I went before Committee and gave a performance like that, I'd be polishing up the ole CV.  

    she was some kind of cop (none / 0) (#40)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 03:46:54 PM EST

    Another sacred bull from the Temple of Shiva, in other words..All you have to is be one of "our finest" for awhile, not get caught with your pants down, and your mere existence is it's own justrification..


    Her bio (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:11:05 PM EST
    DEA special agent.. (none / 0) (#44)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:43:00 PM EST
    close enough.

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#89)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 02:03:57 PM EST